Brisbane Roar in A-League box seat as rivals scrap for finals

Mike Mulvey and Brisbane Roar are in the clubhouse pouring themselves a gin and tonic while the rest of the field belt each other with nine irons trying to force their way into a play-off.

Such is the reward for a side that has wrapped up the A-League premiership with change to spare but Mulvey has no intention of resting players, or lowering expectations, in the final three games before the first week of the finals.

That doesn't mean the Roar coach is not aware of the comparative advantage that rests with his squad, which takes on Melbourne Heart on what promises to be a soggy Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

Momentum before the finals remains a priority but even if the Roar fail to extract a solitary point in the coming weeks, they retain home-ground advantage. For teams desperately trying to scrap their way into the post-season, it's become a cut-throat game every week.

Mulvey said there was no "peverse pleasure" to be had watching the rest of the league battling it out but admitted the pressure could take a toll, particularly for sides involved in the Asian Champions League.

"What I will say is that a lot of these teams are playing mini-grand finals, week-in, week-out. That takes its toll after a while. Then you throw in the ACL games. There will be a bit of cannibalisation going on and we can affect that as well – we play three teams trying to get into the finals," Mulvey said.

"That's pressure, real pressure. It should make for great theatre, great television."

Brisbane have the opportunity to finish the season with a wet sail and surge into the finals with not only the premiership in their keeping but their tails in the air. As such, there will be no resting of key players like Thomas Broich, who takes more physical punishment than almost any player in the competition.

Mulvey said he intended on stacking every deck possible in his side's favour before the opening round of the finals. The players already have the advantage of a week's break before hosting a visiting side at Suncorp Stadium.

"That home-ground advantage is a massive thing to have," Mulvey said. "A good team has got to come here and win, they've [Brisbane] got to be right on their game. That's what we want to make sure happens, that we have such a quality of performance under our belts, that we have such a self-belief and the fans behind us, that nothing can stop us.

There will be no Harry Kewell (injured) for Heart, meaning Brisbane fans won't be given the opportunity to farewell the Socceroos great.

The story Brisbane Roar in A-League box seat as rivals scrap for finals first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide